Carter County Museum – Ekalaka, MT
You’re unlikely to stumble into Ekalaka unless you are trying to get there and this museum makes it worth the trip! Surrounded by fossil-rich badlands, the museum displays a variety of specimens all found within 50 miles of the museum including a gorgeously mounted T.rex and the duck-billed dinosaur Anatotitan copei. The museum hosts an annual Dino Shindig in late July where you can meet top paleontologists in the field, learn all about the fossils, and even join a dino dig!
Museum of the Rockies – Bozeman, MT
Museum of the Rockies has one of the most impressive collections of Triceratops and T.rex skulls you will find on display anywhere. There is an impressive sampling of all the species of dinosaurs found in Montana including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, “Big Al” the Allosaurus, hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs), ankylosaurs, Pachycephalosaurus, and Deinonychus, a North American cousin of Velociraptor.
The Montana Dinosaur Center – Bynum, MT
Teton County in Montana is the home of Egg Mountain, where the first dinosaur babies were discovered! The species was named Maiasaura or “good mother lizard” because of the groundbreaking discovery that the animals stayed with their young while in the nest. In the museum you can see a real-bone Maiasaura skeleton, the state fossil of Montana. Want to dig up dinosaur bones for yourself? The museum hosts half- and full day dig programs in the summer where you can try your hand at excavating dinosaur fossils in the field.
Great Plains Dinosaur Museum – Malta, MT
Another important Montana fossil discovery can be found at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, home of Leonardo the dinosaur mummy! This is one of the best-preserved dinosaur specimens in the world and has fossilized skin covering 90% of its body. You read that right. Fossil. Dinosaur SKIN. You have to check it out!
Makoshika State Park – Glendive, MT
Museums are great, but how about exploring the land where dinosaurs used to roam? Makoshika State Park is the largest state park in Montana and made up of Hell Creek Formation badlands, one of the best-producing areas for fossils from the end of the age of dinosaurs. In the park you can see the black coal layer that marks the K-Pg boundary showing the moment an asteroid hit the earth and ended the age of dinosaurs. Hike one of the many trails in the park and keep your eyes peeled for fossils on the ground and in the hillsides. Ten species of dinosaurs have been found in the park including Triceratops and T.rex. The park also has a visitor center with several displays showing specimens found in the park.
All these locations are stops along the Montana Dinosaur Trail! Check out their site to see additional fossil locations and pick up a prehistoric passport to guide you through all the dinosaur hot spots in the state. You can collect stamps at each location and get a specially designed t-shirt if you complete the entire trail.